The AFL North West under-13 squad will have 10 players from Inverell and three from Glen Innes making their representation debuts on Saturday in Tamworth, where they will come up against the North Coast rep side.
Under the guidance of Coach Gerry Taveira, players have been committed to training each Tuesday and Thursday since March in an endeavor to improve their skills and have fun learning the sport.
Last Sunday in Moree, they tackled a composite Tamworth side and according to the coach, they all applied themselves well.
Taveira said he's absolutely wrapped to see the kids turn up enthusiastic and learn new skills as they prepare for their biggest test – the northern representation junior carnival in Coffs Harbour in July.
He said having Kevin Pay as his assistant is a tremendous benefit.
“When I asked him if he could be my assistant, he didn’t hesitate,” Taveira said.
“Having played VFL football for Collingwood in the early 60s, he has the knowledge and passion to pass onto the kids, which is pretty awesome when you think about it.”
Taveira said Saturday’s match will be a good form gauge for the side.
"Admittedly, we’re not expecting to win all, if any, games,” he said.
“But I've already told the players that it's not all about winning, but having fun, respecting umpires, coaches and their parents and taking something away from the experience.”
There’s a number of kids in their first season playing AFL, and Taveira said their skills have improved enormously.
He hopes they will spread the word and recruit their mates in an effort to kick off an under-14 competition next season.